"As You Wish" Onboard Credits - What Do You Think?
Crystal is a fine cruise product with excellent service and cuisine, no added cost alternative dining, three dining options (early, late, by reservation) and the best enrichment programs at sea. However, at first glance its prices seem high relative to most other luxury cruise lines; especially when considering the basic accommodations are truly cabins rather than suites.
The one thing that seems to be overlooked is that buried in Crystal's price are significant "As You Wish" onboard credits which can be spent on tours, liquor, spa, shops, etc. which, in reality, brings the net cost of the cruise down. It is sort of a spin on Regent's more inclusive approach, but with the benefit of you spending your money on the things you want rather than, say, tours you have no interest in taking or liquor you will never drink.
What do you think of this concept? Would you prefer lower prices and the elimination of the onboard credits?
Hello: I'll be sailing on the Symphony February 23 (my twin sister and I are celebrating our 60th birthday). Actually, I prefer the cruise credit ($700/pp) to the all inclusive. On this trip I probably will do few tours and don't drink alcohol, so I don't like paying for things I don't avail myself of. I plan to spend most of that money in the spa! :-)
Yes - Crystal is a different animal from other lux lines but still first class in every way.
I sort of think of Crystal as old-fashioned cruising - almost everything is included, you get excellent food & service, most people have pre-set dining times and tables, you pay gratuities, etc...
But I still think the cruise credits are a good idea since it essentially makes Crystal an "all-inclusive" line - up to a (very reasonable) point. Inclusiveness seems to work for a lot of people - note the new popularity of Regent since they started putting hotels, airfare and shore excursions into the cruise fare.
Of course you are paying for it, but people seem to be willing to do that to gain the freedom to "do whatever."
I prefer having the "As You Wish" credits, because you can use them for so many different options. I think when Crystal does go all-inclusive next spring that there will be some back lash from cruise guests and they will need to offer shore excursions in the "all-inclusive" pricing like Regent.
Just for the record - Crystal has NOW gone all-inclusive - so alcohol and gratuities are now included in the price of a cruise - just like so many other luxury cruise lines.
Ironically, Crystal was a much better value under the previous system, at least in my opinion. The idea was that you got shipboard credit - as much as $2500 per stateroom, to apply anywhere you pleased, including liquor and gratuities.
By lux cruisers have shown that all they want included is booze & tips, and they will pay separately for other things.
Crystal is a GREAT cruise line, by the way, and their sales have never been better, especially with their new CEO Edie Bornstein.